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Russia’s loneliest woman doesn’t know there is virus pandemic in the world

By The Siberian Times reporter
09 May 2020

Siberian hermit Agafya Lykova was not told the news to protect her from getting worried and upset.

Agafya Lykova pictured aged 72. PIcture: Alexander Kuznetsov

Agafya celebrated her 76th birthday several weeks ago in April inside her tiny house surrounded by centuries-old trees deep in Siberian taiga. 

Members of the team of Kemerovo region’s governor who take care of Agafya along with the rangers from the Khakassky Nature Reserve believe that the world-famous recluse has no knowledge of the pandemic. 

‘We’ve just had a chat with her recently, I called to check upon her health. Agafya has a satellite phone for emergenies and for several times a year calls when we want to check that she doing well.

'She said she was feeling well. I didn’t tell her about the coronavirus, I didn’t want her to start getting worried’, said Alexander from Tashtagol city administration who have known Agafya for years.

The last time he saw her in person was in Autumn 2019, Alexander explained, but he knows that Khakassky nature reserve inspectors have already travelled by boat to visit her. 

Early spring and abnormally warm temperature allowed them to make the first river trip to the hermit’s house weeks earlier than usual.  

‘We all take extreme care when visiting Agafya, virus or no virus - she is like a Mowgli who has never came across modern day infections and diseases, we know how disciplined and cautious we must be in making sure she stays safe’, Alexander said. 

Russia’s loneliest woman doesn’t know there is virus pandemic in the world


Russia’s loneliest woman doesn’t know there is virus pandemic in the world


Russia’s loneliest woman doesn’t know there is virus pandemic in the world
Agafya is the last survivor of a family of Orthodox Old Believers who in 1936 fled into the forest to escape religious persecution of Stalin's Russia. Pictures: Igor Nazarov, Nikolay Proletsky


Each time the Tashtagol city administration team travels with packs of goods for Agafya gathered by local businessmen -  the hermit favours buckwheat and rice - and little presents like knitted socks or pieces of fabric for new clothes posted by people from all around Russia.

There are dozens of volunteers who wish to travel to Khakassia, but currently Agafya is quite content with having her cousin Alexey Utkin living close to her. 

‘She is not an easy person to live with, and many people who wish to help her don’t understand her character. I know her well, she is a child of a nature, she needs somebody who would listen to her and obey her orders’, Alexander said. 

‘I am a Siberian man, but I would find it impossible to stay in her place for more than three days. It is extremely challenging physically and morally, yet she seems to be finding it the only life she wants to have. She is a Mowgli.’

Russia’s loneliest woman doesn’t know there is virus pandemic in the world


Russia’s loneliest woman doesn’t know there is virus pandemic in the world


Russia’s loneliest woman doesn’t know there is virus pandemic in the world


Russia’s loneliest woman doesn’t know there is virus pandemic in the world


Russia’s loneliest woman doesn’t know there is virus pandemic in the world
Agafya, 76 is being looked after by the team of Kemerovo region's governor and rangers of the Khakassky Nature Reserve. Pictures: Vladimir Makuta


Agafya is the last survivor of a family of Orthodox Old Believers who in 1936 fled into the forest to escape religious persecution of Stalin's Russia.

They were discovered dozens of years later in 1978 after being spotted from the air by a group of geologists on a remote mountain side close to Erinat river in the Abakan range, south-western Siberia. When they were found, they had no idea World War Two had started - or ended. 

Agafya was the fourth child of Karp and Akulina Lykov, and for the first 35 years of her life she had no contact at all with anyone outside her family.

Her mother died in 1961, her father passed away in 1988.

For most of her life Afafya lived much as a peasant from the 18th century with hardly any modern comforts, guided by an ancient Bible.

Agafya Lykova pictured several years ago. Pictures: Tashtagol city administration/The Siberian Times

Russia’s loneliest woman doesn’t know there is virus pandemic in the world


Russia’s loneliest woman doesn’t know there is virus pandemic in the world


Russia’s loneliest woman doesn’t know there is virus pandemic in the world

Comments (7)

I'm glad that she's still okay living out there and people go out to visit when the weather's good it's good she's heard about the virus so she knows and it's also good that she has the sattelite phone to call someone if she needs too hope everything goes well it must be hard living the way she dies but she is so used to it now
Lavinia pomare, New zealand
27/05/2020 01:52
1
0
Thank you for other stats update. I was think about her recently and prayed she was well.
Psylgar, Hallsville,U SA
18/05/2020 13:02
2
0
Poor woman reminds my my grandmother. Lots of prayers for you.i hope one day
Someone will help her in old age ,look after her
Roman sepiol , Edinburgh
17/05/2020 17:18
2
0
I have been viewing You Tube videos of Agafia for many hours now. There are no series on Netflix or HBO that can begin to compare with these! I feel my heart with this stubborn, intentional woman. I hope she has many good years yet. Am thrilled to know the University students come to help her, and other services check on her.
Debi Coish, Santa Rosa, California, USA
16/05/2020 14:58
3
0
Agafya, a lesson to the world..Thank you so much Siberian Times for all these great stories! You are at the top; never give up!
Robert, France
11/05/2020 22:26
9
0
just make sure and check and double check and triple check that no one who is not supposed to be there comes even remote near her. volunteers and goody two shoes and other assorted well wishers an do gooders. idiots are plenty around our world. at least there are no roads to worry about out there....
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
11/05/2020 16:54
8
0
I love this woman! Agafya Lykova
Míriam, Catalunya
09/05/2020 21:10
15
1
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